Insurance Requirements for Car Registration

Getting your car officially registered with the DMV requires proof of ownership, ID, and possibly an inspection.
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It doesn’t matter how glamorous or flashy your car is; every driver winds up at the DMV at some point. Registering a vehicle is a process designed with efficiency and simplicity in mind. In spite of this, there can be frequent issues and delays involved in getting the license official. The specifics of insurance and vehicle registration may differ from state to state; however, there’s a lot of basic ground that should apply wherever you are nationwide.

You’ll need insurance first

One of the DMV’s running goals has been to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles. From their standpoint, the easiest way to accomplish this has been to require an insurance policy prior to actually registering the car itself. Without the proper insurance matters covered beforehand, the registration itself may be delayed, or otherwise denied outright until such a point that you’ve got a deal established with an in-state provider.
The DMV itself has its own official “insurance finder,” indexing all of the officially recognized car insurance companies across the country.

How to apply for registration

When you go to the DMV, make sure to bring a few things, including your personal ID, proof of an insurance policy, as well as all ownership and ID papers relating to the vehicle itself. The DMV of certain states will keep an electronic index of all pertinent insurance companies. In this case, all you’ll need to do is give the DMV representative the name of the provider you’re with.
In advance of physically going to the DMV yourself, you should check your state’s DMV page to see if online vehicle registration is an available option. Generally speaking, people don’t dread registering their car because it’s difficult, but rather because it’s time-consuming and involves a lot of waiting. California, for example, offers a quick online registration, just so long as your insurance provider is recognized by their official network.
Having proof of ownership (such as a pink slip or electronic dealer report of sale) ready for the DMV will permit you authorization to register the car in the official system.

Registering a car in a new U.S. state

If you have moved to a new state and are re-registering your car accordingly, the process can be relatively painless if you have your valid insurance papers from your previous out-of-state provider. State DMVs will typically need to verify a relocated vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) after which point the vehicle should be successfully on its way towards in-state representation.
Keep in mind that out-of-state insurance is not going to be accepted for the residents of a given state.

Vehicle inspections and potential red tape

In the event of a relocated or pre-owned purchase car, you should prepare for the possibility of a vehicle inspection. Although these tend to be quite quick, many interpret them as being invasive and unwelcoming. The best thing to do is to allow yourself to relax in spite of the circumstances.
The government is a stickler when it comes to enforcing certain laws. In the case of used vehicle purchase being announced, the state DMV will dispatch an inspector to check the sold car’s emissions and check the odometer to verify that it falls within set parameters.

Regulations and rules vary across state lines

While this article is intended to illustrate the broad strokes of car registration, it should not be intended as anything more than a general summary. Each state handles their insurance regulations in different ways. Although many states share similar insurance laws, the numbers and fine print vary more often than not. Refer to your state’s specific regulations for a more specific guide on getting your vehicle registered.

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